AMREF's Focus: Women
Healthy women and girls are the key to meeting the social and economic development of Africa. However, women on the continent are extremely vulnerable to disease because of their low social standing, lack of education, reproductive role, and traditional gender expectations.
1 in 39 women die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth in Africa compared to 1 in 4,300 in industrialized countries.
Maternal death rates are particularly high in Africa because of the lack of skilled midwives, obstructed labor, unsafe abortions, anemia, and malaria. Pregnant women in Africa are especially vulnerable to malaria as their immunity is low and they often do not have the knowledge or the means of prevention.
Obstructed labor is a significant problem for young women who give birth when their bodies have not yet sufficiently developed. Some countries in Africa have the highest adolescent pregnancy rates in the world – up to 40 % of girls give birth before they are 14.
Women represent three quarters of the population between the ages of 15-24 living with HIV in Africa. Although women are biologically more vulnerable to HIV, the main factors behind this disparity are social and economic. Many women are not in a position to demand faithfulness or safe sex from their husband or partner and financial circumstances can also force women into selling themselves for sex.
AMREF’S work with women
AMREF promotes reproductive rights, including those that help women make informed choices about family planning.
In Tanzania, we are empowering women to recognize their reproductive rights and to discuss them openly with their spouses. We are also promoting access to and use of maternal/reproductive health services, including obstetric care, family planning, and management of pregnancy complications.
In Uganda, we are encouraging commercial sex workers to practice safe sex and providing them with an alternative means of earning a living through training courses in tailoring, hairdressing, and business skills.
South Sudan has the highest maternal death rate in the world (2,054 mothers out of every 100,000 or - one in fifty - die during childbirth). This is caused by a severe lack of trained midwives, inadequate health facilities, and a high rate of teenage pregnancy. To tackle this urgent need, AMREF is training community midwives from around the region.
We are encouraging pregnant women to take preventive measures against malaria through our malaria programs. In Afar, Ethiopia, we are training 300 mother coordinators to ensure pregnant women are protecting themselves in the community.
In South Africa we are raising awareness about violence against women, helping women access relevant services, and working with the authorities to better protect women through improved laws and policies.
Above are some examples of current projects that particularly target women. However, in all of our work, and all of our programs, we champion women. We believe that women are at the heart of their families’ and communities’ health, and that the greatest strides in sustainable development can be made by focusing on women.
Projects and stories
- Jijenge reproductive rights project, Tanzania
- Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS, Kenya
- Kawempe commercial sex workers, Uganda
- Training midwives, Southern Sudan
- Violence against women, South Africa
- Busia Maternal and child survival, Kenya
- Ganze Girls Education Project, Kenya
- South Omo Maternal and Child Health, Ethiopia
- Angaza HIV Voluntary Counseling and Testing Services, Tanzania